Monday, April 30, 2018

Think I Had it Right the First Time: The Dark Monk

As I moved away from my reading of The Hangman's Daughter and found historical fiction I liked even less, I considered very seriously the possibility that I may have judged the first book too harshly. So I dove headlong into the second book in the Hangman series, The Dark Monk. This time, a priest is murdered in a hunt for Templar treasure. I thought I had every reason to be optimistic.

Nope. I had it pegged on the first go-around.

There's stuff to like about Potzsch's writing - he gets the atmosphere, the historical environment just right, and I like his characters. Not love, but like. But regardless of that, something very serious is lacking.

It's the dialogue: it's repetitive. It's redundant. And it's forced. It's like watching an extending commercial trying to sell senior citizens life insurance. There is something so inorganic about reading people rehash the same scenes and the same factoids over and over again, using the exact same language. The end result is a mystery that doesn't feel like a mystery, or, maybe, a mystery for dummies, because there's not a chance in hell you're gonna miss the important bit. It will be repeated at least half a dozen times. And that really takes something away from the tension and the tone of these works.  It also keeps his characters flat. Stops them from becoming loveable, rather than merely likeable.

It's a shame this isn't more like Name of the Rose in quality. Then I would be head-over-heels for this series. Unfortunately, life is unfair and we all have to live with it. And more of The Hangman's Daughter is a frustration I'd sooner live without.

K Rating: 2/5

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